Fields in the report layout area can have their visibility set to one of three options: visible, invisible, and hide when empty. Fields added to the layout area are automatically set to visible.
Visible fields are always displayed on the report, even if the field is blank for a given record. If a visible field is blank but has a format applied to it, the formatting will be displayed on the report without any data. For example, a ZIP code field could be formatted to include a dash between the fifth and sixth characters. If this field is included on a report and is visible, and a given record has no ZIP code data, only a dash will appear in the ZIP code field for that record on the report.
A hide when empty field will not be included on a report for a specific record if the field is blank. For example, if a customer record doesn’t include a telephone number, and the phone number field is marked as hide when empty, then for that customer record, the empty phone number field and any related formatting won’t be included on the report.
Selecting hide when empty prevents formatting from appearing on a report when the field contains no data.
An invisible field will never be shown on the report output. When a field is invisible, it will appear in the report layout in gray with a dashed border, as shown in the following illustration:
Commonly, fields are marked as invisible when their values are needed for use in calculated fields, but are not needed for display on the report. For example, you may want to display a field on the report showing the difference between the highest and lowest values of specific field. To accomplish this, add the field to a footer in the report layout twice. Change the display type of one instance to Minimum, and the display type of the other to Maximum. Then, create a calculated field that subtracts the minimum value from the maximum value. Since only the calculated field needs to be displayed on the report, set the visibility of the minimum value and maximum value fields to invisible.